College Postcards


February 09, 2005|By Bill Free

Baltimore's Darnell Hopkins, a 6-foot-2 junior guard at Murray State, has a keen appreciation for the life of a player at the mid-major level.

"Really, just traveling and going different places and playing games has been my biggest thrill here," said the Towson Catholic alumnus.

That is quite a contrast to the NBA of Carmelo Anthony, whose basketball life was intertwined with Hopkins from the age of 8 through three years at Towson Catholic.

Hopkins said he is willing to wait for the NBA.

First, he wants to improve his ability to drive to the basket without getting charging calls, and he wants to soak up some of the basketball enthusiasm in Kentucky.

"There's a lot of basketball tradition around here," said Hopkins, referring to the Racers' 12 NCAA tournament appearances and 19 Ohio Valley Conference titles.

"And I like the way the coach [Mick Cronin] calls plays for me to create for everybody," said Hopkins, who is second on the team in scoring with an 11.6 average and second in shooting three-pointers with 35 of 82 (42.7 percent). Hopkins also averages 2.9 rebounds as the shooting guard in a backcourt that includes another former Towson Catholic standout, starting point guard Keith Jenifer.

While Hopkins transferred from San Jacinto (Texas) College to Murray last offseason, Jenifer arrived at Murray a year earlier after transferring from Virginia and had to sit out a year.

"I didn't even know Keith was already here," said Hopkins of his former high school teammate.

Jenifer, the only player on the team who has started all 20 games, averages 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

Bryant leads

The Saint Louis Billikens (5-16, 3-6 Conference USA) aren't enjoying the best of times this season, but senior guard Reggie Bryant (Calvert Hall) is putting together a second straight outstanding season.

Bryant is leading in scoring (13.8), free-throw shooting (83.9), three-pointers (42) and three-point percentage (34.4). He also averages 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

Last season, Bryant averaged 16.4 points for fifth place in the league.

Jamal Smith out

Freshman Jamal Smith (Towson Catholic) missed his 16th straight game for Wagner (6-15, 5-7 Northeast Conference) on Monday with a flu-like illness, after a promising start.

Smith, a 6-5 guard, started five games and averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.4 minutes. He has returned to practice but could be eligible for a medical redshirt this season if he doesn't play in any more games.

Another big freshman guard, 6-6 Justin Drummond (McDonogh), is averaging 15.9 minutes in 21 games, 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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